The resilience of London's property market continues to draw Hong Kong buyers looking for quality apartments, straightforward transactions, and the promise of good investment returns.
It also explains the level of interest in The Residence, a new development taking shape in leafy West Hampstead.
Due for completion in September 2014, the initial sales phase is now under way for 56 stylish homes, set around a landscaped private garden in one of northwest London's most desirable districts.
The development, which is being overseen by Regal Homes, includes one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments plus penthouses, all designed and finished to the highest specifications. A stated aim is to create a sense of beautifully crafted, contemporary luxury, while providing the comforts and convenience residents would naturally expect of a modern, city-based lifestyle.
'The main rooms in each unit have been designed 'neutrally' to create a warm, luxurious space, which buyers can mould to their own tastes,' says Rosaline Lam, senior director of Colliers International, which is in charge of sales and marketing in Hong Kong. 'Most of the apartments have an outside area and all the penthouses have either a roof terrace or balcony, with views towards The City or overlooking the park next to the development.'
In fitting out the interiors, the plan is to achieve the best quality, while allowing enough flexibility to adjust for individual preferences. Kitchens, for example, will come with white high-gloss cabinetry, quartz worktops and a full range of appliances. Effective use of the space is intended to give a 'minimalist' feel, yet with all the scope and functionality that any good cook would look for.
Each kitchen will have a stainless steel under-mounted sink and a four-ring hob. The integrated appliances, supplied by Neff/ Baumatic, will include a fridge-freezer, washing machine/dryer and dishwasher.
Bathrooms and en-suite shower rooms will feature natural stone tiling or ceramic floor and wall tiles. Complementing this, there will be white sanitary ware, along with chrome fittings, and walnut panelling that gives a contemporary look. As for the bedrooms, the design calls for built-in wardrobes in the master suites, affording maximum storage space, with fitted carpets or wooden flooring throughout. Gas central heating ensures warmth in winter and plenty of sockets and connection points will allow residents to feel suitably in touch with all the entertainment options available in the wired world.
'The understated luxury of each home will help people to unwind after a day in the capital,' Lam says. 'They can also take advantage of the beautiful communal garden or the private on-site gymnasium.'
For peace of mind, Lam notes that The Residence will have secure underground car parking, CCTV and a video entry-phone system. A 24-hour concierge service, based in the marble-tiled entrance lobby, will help out with day-to day matters. An experienced management services team will provide back-up and oversight, as and when necessary.
'Overall, London is a very stable, well-established property market, with agents forecasting capital growth there to be double that of the rest of Britain over the next four years,' Lam says. 'Rental growth is expected to follow the same trend, and West Hampstead has proved to be an area of sound investment year after year.'
Outlining key considerations for potential overseas buyers, she notes the comparative weakness of sterling, low interest rates and continuing price appreciation. The London residential property market is seen as a safe haven, despite broader economic concerns elsewhere. Some analysts are predicting capital growth of 6.5 per cent in 2012 and around 5.5 per cent for each of the next two years. Besides that, average rental yields should range between 5 per cent and 6 per cent.
'This all points to now being a golden time for investors, with projected strong demand and anticipated price growth,' Lam says.
The international launch of The Residence will take place at the Mandarin Oriental's Victoria Room on Saturday and Sunday.
'We are very confident that interest will be high,' Lam says. 'This is a fantastic development and, to a certain extent, we believe it completely sells itself.'